My dad is a vet, as in a Veteran.
He served in Vietnam, '70-'71.
His stories would haunt anyone forever.
Stories of night watchmen mysteriously missing in the morning, finding nothing but dog tags and boots, all suspicions pointing to tigers at night.
Stories of lost friends, people loosing their sanity, children with prostitute mothers,
friends beside you one minute, then gone the next...gone all except for a helmet.
My dad carried his friend that had passed for 3 days through the jungle
so he could get his body somewhere so it could be sent home, instead
of left in the trees.
Stories you can't imagine someone actually living. Especially not someone you love.
Especially not your dad.
He chose to go. He enlisted.
If you knew my dad, this wouldn't surprise you.
Veterans day for me always makes me think of him. Always always will.
I've read his letters he wrote home to his mama.
I've seen the photos.
I've heard the stories...the ones he'll retell...some will be in his memory bank forever, never to be retold.
I can't imagine him there.
If he hadn't made it I wouldn't be here.
My kids wouldn't be here.
He wears a ponytail to this day, homage to his '60's days I'm sure.
His bravery amazes me.
Makes me proud.
Makes my heart swell.
He, along with others I know:
When I was a Junior or Senior in high school, we watched this documentary...Letters Home from Vietnam.
While we watched, I disrupted the whole class and made the teacher rewind it...
I knew I had seen my dad on the video.
I found the clip on youtube.
If you feel like pausing at 1:01, that's my dad on the ground with the cig.
"Happy Veteran's Day" doesn't quite seem to cut it, but I think to just remember is enough to them.
We salute you, men and women, that are way more brave than I could ever think to be.